SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WITN) – Many hospitals throughout the region are installing new stations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the stations are not for patients, but instead for staff members. It’s a small device that’s producing big results with health care workers and functions much like a first aid kit for physical injuries.
It focuses on emotional repair and was created during the emotional rollercoaster of the COVID-19 pandemic as hospital employees struggle to keep up. RN Holly Brewer with Johnston UNC Health Care in Smithfield says it’s hectic and never stops.
“I do work a lot. My shifts are with COVID patients, and you’re constantly putting the PPE on and taking it off for each person, and it’s just a constant ball rolling busy shift,” Brewer said.
The health care workers often feel battered, and one hospital Chaplain says that when they need to stop and administer self-care.
Those behind the new first aid stations remind employees that self-care is not selfish but vital to continue the stressful job of taking care of their patients.
This unique first aid kit is called the Spiritual and Emotional First Aid Station. It slows life down, at least for a moment.
Brewer said, “sometimes, in all honesty, I’m on autopilot, and I just go do it, go home, and go back the next day, the next day.”
Inside each station is a different kind of pain relief for healthcare workers to continue the next day and the next day. Whether Monkey String or a scratch pad for drawing, each item is used to stop the pain in their spirit and emotional bleeding.
Johnston UNC Health Care’s Chaplain Todd Higginson birthed the idea for the emotional care stations and said, “COVID-19 has trickled down in ways that affect all of us, and in the midst of all this, our staff members feel like they have to rise above of the pain, all the grief, and loss.”
The Chaplain says the stations are being used in more than 50 hospitals throughout the region.
“When COVID struck, it was a kind of ripe opportunity for us to come together and put together an opportunity for staff. It’s a meaningful thing to know that people are actually using them and finding opportunity to slow down and pause in the midst of their stressful lives,” said Higginson.
Many employees say their favorite remedy in the first aid stations is aromatherapy cotton balls to ease anxiety. The Spiritual and Emotional First Aid Stations are being installed in about ten more hospitals.
The team behind the Spiritual and Emotional First Aid Stations will end with 60 stations throughout regional hospitals, and they hope the idea continues to grow.
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